Great can be the enemy of good…

“Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don’t have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.”

Jim Collins

It comes to mind that possibly great is also the enemy of good. Sometimes there is such a desperate desire to do great things that the good things never get done. Maybe it is a fear of failure; perhaps it is an inability to know when ‘enough is enough.’ The key is to be able to execute with speed and agility. If you only want great, but you never get there, is that good?

While I fully agree that ‘good is the enemy of great,’ there can be too much of a good thing. Don’t let the pursuit of the great prevent you from being good…

Practice for gameday…

“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”

Malcolm Gladwell 

I have never met a successful person who brought a different level of energy or commitment to practice than they did to the game itself. The most successful people always practice as hard as they play on game day. You can’t take it to the next level when it matters if you don’t practice with that same intensity…

What’s on your mind?

“Today I escaped anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions, not outside.”

Marcus Aurelius

How many of your choices today were controlled by anxiety? Would you make those same decisions again, knowing what you now know about the day?

“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” Matthew‬ ‭6:27‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Look back to learn, live forward…

“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.”

Henry David Thoreau

I think the critical question here is, “why are you looking back?” Is it to learn and grow or wallow and lament? There is nothing you can do about the time passed; one may only live going forward.  What are you going to do differently because you have looked back?

Look back to learn, live forward; life is too short to waste.

What are you choosing to see?

“It takes the same energy to worry as it does to be positive. Use your energy to think positive and positive things will happen.”

Unknown

Have you ever noticed that everything seems to be a little darker and less favorable if you choose to see the world through a “glass half empty” lens? On the flip side, if you intentionally choose a positive outlook, good things seem to happen as if by magic. Regardless, it is a choice. Which one will you choose tomorrow?

Your best customers…

“Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.”

Stephen Covey

I love this adaptation of the “Golden Rule.” It’s incredible how your perspective can change when you think of the world this way.  ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you.’ Luke 6:31  

Of course, it doesn’t matter what you say; you have to back up the words with acts.  

‘But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.’ James 1:22-25 ESV

Who are your best customers? How are you treating those who serve?

Are you blooming?

“When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.”

Alexander Den Heijer

People are a lot like flowers. They need suitable soil, sunshine, water, and food to grow. Take away these things, and performance is suboptimal at best.

Flowers also need structure and process to bloom their brightest. You can’t dump all the water on them at once and then give none for a month and expect great results; the environment matters, consistency matters, discipline and process matter. Add these ingredients to the mix and you have a formula for achieving beauty.  

Who are your true friends?

“There is a magnet in your heart that will attract true friends. That magnet is unselfishness, thinking of others first; when you learn to live for others, they will live for you.” 

Paramahansa Yogananda

Are you the kind of person that you would want to be friends with?

If you can’t serve others, you can’t be a true friend. You must value others more than yourself; that’s what true friends do…

Will you meet important people today?

“Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, Make Me Feel Important. Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.”

Mary Kay Ash

How many people will you meet or speak with today? What if you started every conversation or interaction with this underlying question running through your mind.  “What can I very specifically do to ensure this person knows they are important?”  It is the action that matters, not the intent. Answer this question through your actions.

Glue? Oil? Or both?

“Trust is the glue that holds people together and is the lubricant that keeps an organization moving forward.” 

Colin Powell

Glue binds parts together to align and function not as individual components but as a complete operating system.  

Motor oil reduces friction, overheating, and damage to the engine.  

I don’t imagine that there are too many effective teams that can function without these components. The question is, do you need more oil, glue, or both?

Seek silence…

“The answers you seek never come when the mind is busy, they come when the mind is still.” 

Leon Brown

There is an old cliche that some people “do their best thinking when in the shower.” Every pause to think of why this might be? We are always so busy, running in every direction, believing in the falsehood of multitasking effectiveness. Sometimes, the best way to solve a problem is to disconnect from everything and give our minds space to work. Easier said than done, but once you see how it works, you can’t go back…

Are you waiting for a bus?

“Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith.”

Margaret Shepherd

What exactly are you waiting on? The perfect moment of inspiration? Ideal conditions? The stars to align? What are you going to do if your “bus” doesn’t come?

Sometimes you have to lean in, lean forward, and leap.

The four questions of growth…

“Remember, there are no real failures in life, only results. There are no true tragedies, only lessons. And there really are no problems, only opportunities waiting to be recognized as solutions by the person of wisdom.”

Robin Sharma

What happened?

What did you learn?

What opportunities have been created?

How are you going to solve them?

Seek silence…

“Silence is the mother of truth.”

Benjamin Disraeli

When was the last time your world was completely silent? No mobile devices, wearable tech, TV, etc. Purely and completely silent?  

A friend shared that his favorite 30 minutes of the day has become his morning walk when he leaves all of the attention-demanding devices and distractions at home and walks in his neighborhood. 

Silence is liberating. It is the only time you can really listen, and when you listen, you can begin to hear the truth…

You must become what you want to attract…

“Surround yourself with people that push you to do better. No drama or negativity. Just higher goals and higher motivation. Good times and positive energy. No jealousy or hate. Simply bringing out the absolute best in each other.”

Warren Buffett

I’ve used this quote before, but it is just such a good one that I wanted to use it again. If you are interested, you can read the previous post HERE.  

Every word I wrote last time is as relevant to me now as when I first posted them. I might add to my prior writing the creation of a more disciplined approach for reviewing and pruning. I am going to make this a quarterly habit and see what happens.

Today as I read this quote, I am inspired by exactly how POWERFUL it is when you find people like this and actively seek to include them in your life. It is interesting to observe that the more effective you are, the more people like this seem to show up. A sense of “center of gravity” happens, and like-minded people seem to draw closer together and in more significant numbers. The impact of a group of people who believe and behave in this way can’t be overstated. It can change your world and the worlds of all those around you whom you care for and love.  

The lesson to myself, review this quote and the process I outlined before regularly and live these behaviors outwardly FOR OTHERS every day.  You must become what you want to attract…

Are you an AT or a WITH?

“When I talk to managers, I get the feeling that they are important.

When I talk to leaders, I get the feeling that I am important.”

Alexander Den Heijer

Managers talk AT you.

Leaders talk WITH you.  

Leaders also continue to reinforce the feeling of importance you receive from them with every interaction. It’s never a one and done. It is a constant ongoing dialogue bolstered through every conversation and engagement. With great leaders, YOU are always the most important person in the room.

Are you an AT or a WITH?

Are you a force multiplier?

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”

Colin Powell

It’s incredible how powerful a positive mindset can be. I know people who can change the entire room based on their attitude and outlook. Nothing stops them, slows them down, or stands in their way. These types of people are the ones that can truly create a “1 + 1 = 3” kind of world.

The question is, are you a force multiplier or a divider? Does the room grow or shrink when you walk in?

What are you focused on finding?

“Don’t find fault, find a remedy”

Henry Ford

Twenty-plus years ago, I read a Japanese management axiom that was a compelling piece of wisdom and is one that I have relied on for most of my professional career and personal life. 

Devote your energy into understanding and fixing the problem, not who is at fault.” 

Teams that work with this intent are tightly aligned and focused on the things that matter. Teams led in a “fault first” environment are only worried about making sure that the finger doesn’t point at them—what a waste of time and energy…

Do you hear or do you listen?

“The best way to persuade people is with your ears – by listening to them.”

Dean Rusk

There is a marked difference between hearing and listening. To hear is to acknowledge the content that others are seeking to share. To listen, well, that means that you desire to understand why they need to share it.  You are seeking to learn their view of the world through empathy and understanding.  

John Maxwell stated that “leadership is influence.”  The key to building influence is not built on fostering an ability to hear but instead is predicated on nurturing a deep desire and ability to listen genuinely. Only then can you possibly begin to persuade… 

What is trust?

“A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other.”

Simon Sinek

What is trust? Trust is not something that can be created by waving a magic wand and created through edict or decree. Trust is an intentionally curated and reinforced outcome or result. If trust is an outcome, then the critical question becomes: What inputs are required to create the desired effect?  How do you focus on building trust?

Integrity is a result…

“A person is not given integrity. It results from the relentless pursuit of honesty at all times.”

Unknown

I believe that integrity and humility are very similar. You don’t tell people you have them; you act in a deeply committed and focused manner based on core principles and tenets that guide your life.  

To earn the integrity label, you must have central core values of honesty and truthfulness, and then your behaviors represent these beliefs. You have to live what you believe outwardly every single day in everything you do. Only then do others see you as having integrity; it is applied based on your actions.  

Free yourself from fear to enable excitement…

“Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited about what could go right.”

Tony Robbins

There are always things that can and will go wrong. Understand this, and you will be free to embrace all the things that can and will go right as long as you have put in the work.  

When you free your mind from the paralyzing effects of fear, you can get excited about the future. When you are excited, your work will have more energy, and the enthusiasm you have will positively affect those around you. And this is exactly when things start to go right…

What record are you creating today?

“You are what your record says you are.”

Bill Parcells

This is entirely true if the only place you look is in the rearview mirror. The key is to remember that your work today will create the record you reflect back on tomorrow and in the future. Make it count; your record is a reflection of the focus and effort you bring to the table every single day. 

Are you an architect?

“Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity – not a threat.”

Steve Jobs

Change is going to happen. We can embrace it, we can resist it, or, for the rare few, we can architect it. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather architect the future than simply be along for the ride…

Can you do #4 first?

Strive to be first: first to nod, first to smile, first to compliment, and first to forgive.

Unknown

The first three on this list are relatively easy. You can amend your behavior and seek to create these opportunities; it can even become a bit of a game. Oh, but number four, now that is a hard one. You can’t fake it, you can’t pretend, you can’t try and win. If you want to do this well, you have to learn to let go of being hurt, keeping score, and needing to win. I dare say that if you can do #4 well, the others will fall into place automatically…

Executing dreams is magic…

“The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all what the world needs most are dreamers that do.”

Sarah Ban Breathnach

There are those days where it is fun to dream. Imagining what is possible is energizing and exciting. But the most exciting day is where you are working on making those dreams come true. The hours go by like magic and the energy you receive from the work is incredible. There is simply nothing better than working on dreams that matter.

Spend your energy on what matters most…

“Observe and learn instead of react and respond. Everything doesn’t need your reaction. Conserve your energy for what matters.”

Author Unknown

If you choose to live in a reactive state, you will be allocating your energy based on responding to the things that happen in your world versus intentionally planning the things you want and need to happen. Sometimes choosing to ignore the unimportant things is the wisest possible choice. If you aren’t careful, you can spend your best energy on things that matter the least.

Welcome some contradiction into life…

“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

It always amazes me how much personal worth people stake on “being right” instead of “doing right.” No one has 100% perfect information, and by gaining insight from different perspectives, you have a much better chance of arriving at a more accurate answer.  

If you aren’t worried about being right, then those who offer a contrary opinion won’t be seen as attacking you.  

There is nothing wrong with being wrong, as long as you learn from your change in perspective. Welcome some contradiction into your life; you just might learn something…

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dusty

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